Delayed Redevelopment Was Reasonable After Flood Disaster in West Virginia

CED-77-17: Published: Dec 30, 1976. Publicly Released: May 17, 1977.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the federal role in the redevelopment of the Buffalo Creek Valley, West Virginia, following severe flooding caused by the collapse of a coal-waste dam, focusing on delays and problems encountered in housing construction, highway relocation, and water and sewage system construction.

Because of the unique nature and problems of the area, additional coordination by federal agencies would not have greatly shortened the time needed to achieve the goals of the redevelopment plan. A sense of immediacy contributed to the development of unrealistic cost estimates and impractical timetables. Because the work undertaken to construct housing, highways, and water and sewage systems was a major construction project, the delays encountered in achieving the planned redevelopment of Buffalo Creek Valley were not unrealistic.

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